There was a British comedy series that I cannot for the life of me remember the name of that always had a spot where they'd do a first person scene. I never saw it here, I only ever caught it when I was working in the UK. The best one they did was at a funeral where everyone was getting drunk and hitting on the widow.

You're right about Zemeckis. He made a film called Used Cars which wasn't half bad but didn't do all that well at the box office. I figure he very quickly found himself in the place Coppola and Scorcese found themselves in much further down their roads where they realized the day of the auteur was done and if they wanted to keep making movies they had better belly up to the same trough as everyone else and churn out popcorn pap for the masses. The closest Spielberg has ever gone to true drama was Schindler's List and he even managed to fuck that up. Maybe they should start pairing directors together, combining their strengths, although anything done by committee sucks big steamy turds. At the very least it would make for some great fractious behind the scenes stories.

Harrow Alley was written by Walter Newman who was, in his time, regarded as one of the best screenwriters - ever. He's uncredited on a lot of pictures because he was also an irrascible bastard who would get fumingly fed up with the studio bullshit and pull his name off projects despite being eligible under Writer's Guild rules for full credit. The Great Escape is the most outstanding example. He wrote Harrow Alley on spec and found that while it was highly regarded by all who read it, it was at the same time deemed to be completely unproduceable. Why? It's about the Black Plague. Not a good date flick or a feel good film of any sort. Yet it IS. The ending is superb and ties all the tangled threads together wonderfully. It passed through many hands over the years. Most notably George C. Scott owned it up to the time of his death and originally had hopes of starring in it and then towards the end was trying to get it made with Mel Gibson in the lead. I don't know if the rights remained with his estate after his passing, which might mean Campbell Scott could possibly control it now. It is a dark and bleak and nasty story simply because of the melieu. It's a difficult tale because most of the people you come to know and like in it die horribly and tragically ... it is the plague after all. I would like to think that in this day and age of films like Saw and Hostel ... and all the other crap the Americans are trying so desperately to scare themselves with, either in an unwitting exhibition of their own tortured (pun intended) zeitgeist or a desperate attempt to distract themselves from an oppressive reality that is far more terrible than any of their fearful imaginings (just as they did with the horror and SF films of the McCarthy era) ... that such a story could indeed find an audience. Now, actually, would be a good time for it. We need a compelling tale of life's continuance in the face of unrelenting suffering and death.


Anonymous said...

Scott sold Harrow Alley in (I think) the last year of his life. Emma Thompson currently owns the rights (again, I think), and several years ago gave an interview in the course of which she said that she was re-writing it.

I hope not. It's hard to think of it re-written.

Kevan R. Craft said...


I have an original copy of HARROW ALLEY screenplay by Walter Brown Newman which clocks in at 178 pages in a scanned PDF.. I've also recently acquired HARROW ALLEY the revised script written by Emma Thompson, also in PDF which clocks in at 142 pages..

If you'd like copies of these contact me on:-